Drenched trench coats during a midnight stroll in the rain. The clink of wine glasses in a dark and cozy bar. The silvery puff of a cigarette paired with a steaming cup of joe. The soulful vibrato of a saxophone complemented by the gentle plucking of a gigantic double bass. All of these are images that one can easily imagine whenever jazz is playing.
There’s also something deeply satisfying about listening to the fuller-sounding, 7th chords of a piano while progressing through a dungeon. Or fleeing a guarded vault as the trumpets blare louder and louder, your pulse almost matching the tempo of the swinging beat. Who would have thunk that jazz and video games mix together so well? Since April 30 is International Jazz Day, here are our favorite jazz hits from classic video games.
If you’ve ever played Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations, you know the thrill of getting Phoenix to exclaim his iconic catchphrase, “Objection!” Look beyond the courtroom hysterics and remember the tragic story of Godot, the coffee-loving prosecutor.
If you honestly don’t remember, it’s okay. Listen to this, and immediately be swept away by the melancholic theme. It suits Godot perfectly as a mysterious man who seeks revenge for his murdered lover and eventual blindness. One can imagine Godot and Mia slow dancing to this sultry song, saxophones blaring in the background. While you’re at it, check out the rest of the game’s soundtrack album.
This 2D fighting game has a gorgeous jazz soundtrack. Under The Bridge, is perfectly suited to Big Band, the bulky-looking detective who literally looks like a jazz ensemble. His attacks are based on musical instruments (brass knuckles, anyone?) and boy, do we feel attacked when we hear this alto-sax heavy theme.
It’s mighty, unpredictable, and lengthy—in fact, the song takes around 9 minutes! But the neverending variety of solos, harmonious blending, and playful drum beats make sure that it never gets boring. It’s also cute considering insaneintherain is a one-man band, too. Check out his other awesome jazz covers!
For those ending a day at work, sit back and relax—this 5 P.M. song will melt your stress away. It’s no secret that the Animal Crossing: New Horizons is last month’s bestselling game in the US—it also arrived in the midst of the coronavirus lockdown. Animal Crossing’s peaceful OST is one of the reasons gamers love it so much. Indulge in this jazzed-up version littered with rich 7th chords, modulated chords, and delightfully sax-y solos.
Also, how adorable is insaneintherain’s Animal Crossing avatar playing some instruments alongside him? Watch ‘til the end for a surprise!
Alright, we cheated a bit. Although considered lo-fi (lo-fi being the combination of traditional hip-hop elements and jazz techniques), you can definitely celebrate International Jazz Day with this cover. Revel in the combination of piano, double bass, drums, sax, and guitar to reminisce Tifa and Cloud’s past together. There’s an unexpected violin accompaniment midway, and it lifts the already beautiful melody into greater heights.
If you’re feeling down, give this hopeful tune a listen before you sleep.
Like insaneintherain, The Consouls also dominate jazz video game arrangements on YouTube, except they’re composed of 5 band members. Check out their channel for more beautiful tributes.
You’ll never see it coming—Sapphire’s powerful voice will give you goosebumps as she nails the higher notes in the chorus. Persona fans know this one as the Casino Dungeon theme. With a catchy bassline, funky piano, and well-written lyrics, Whims of Fate will have you engaging in flights of fancy. Imagine getting ready for a million-dollar heist and world domination with this simmering in the background.
Fun fact: the lyricist of this song is Benjamin Franklin. Not the American Founding Father mind you, but a living German composer and singer who has produced songs for mostly Japanese games. He also worked on Persona 4G as a lyricist.
Which one struck you the most? Let us know! Enjoy this International Jazz Day and tune in for more music-related content on GG Network.
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